Most Chapleau citizens may have been enjoying the summer of 1951, but a storm was brewing in the local business community over a proposal to standardize business hours in stores.
Arthur J. Grout, the president of Smith and Chapple Ltd., had prepared a petition which he planned to submit to township council which would bring about the changes. Mr. Grout, who was also a member of council, wanted a by-law passed.
However, the top story, in the July 26 edition of the Chapleau Post revealed there was "considerable resistance" among smaller merchants in town.
One commented: "We must resist this petition as the passing of the bylaw would threaten our existence."
Mr. Grout's petition called for store openings at 9 a.m. instead of 8:30 a.m, closing for lunch at noon for an hour instead of 11:30 a.m. with afternoon hours remaining the same. There would still be a Wednesday afternoon closure.
Stores would remain open until nine p.m. on Saturday in June, July and August but close at six p.m. the rest of the year.
D.T. 'Toddy' Collinson of Major's Cleaners was not in favour. "I have hours which fit with my business and would not be in favour of a change."
However, he saw no reason why other businesses could not just put new hours into effect for themselves with no bylaw necessary.
Ed Downey of the Chapleau Drug Co. commented it was not good for the drug business.
"Our hours are set to more or less conform with the office hours of the doctors and a change would be disastrous for those in our business," Mr. Downey said.
J.R. Thornton of the Model Drug Store said: "When we are stocked with several thousand dollars of drugs we are expected with doctors' hours.'' He added that if a doctor gave a prescription at eight at night, "we are expected to fill it,"
George Tremblay of Gamma Photo Centre was opposed too, saying that forty percent of his business was night sales. "If we are closed at night, the result will be next to disastrous. We need our night sales."
George McCord of Chapleau Meat and Grocery would only favour a plan whereby all stores closed at six p.m. every Saturday of the year, then "I'll fall in line."
Mrs. Fitch of Fitch's Grocery was opposed as new hours would result in substantial loss of business for their store located near the CPR station. She pointed that that they did "considerable transient business" from the passenger trains arriving in Chapleau between noon and one p.m. and up to seven p.m.
You will have to stay tuned to learn the result of the proposal as I have just started going through digital copies of the Chapleau Post kindly provided to me by Doug Greig when I was in Chapleau recently for the official launch of The Chapleau Boys Go To War. Thanks so much Doug!
As an aside, as I was reading the story from the July 26, 1951 edition of the Chapleau Post, it struck me that none of those business exist in Chapleau today -- other than the name Model Drug may still be used by the pharmacy. My email is email@example.com